Skin Lightening Creams

jmwbJuly 12, 2004

Can anyone recommend a potent over the counter skin lightening cream? This summer the skin above my lips is darkening allot even though I wear SPF 30 UVA & UVB. It looks like I have a dirty face. I used to have a prescription lightener but let that prescription expire.

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I can't recommend a cream because none of them worked for me. Back when I took hormones it caused the skin above my lips to darken. When I quit taking them it went away.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 11:07AM
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The OTC counter fade creams work but slowly. They have the same medication in them as the perscription kind but at half the strength. Any of the OTC fade have exactly the same amount of active ingredient, 2%. You also need to use a heavy duty sunscreen and a hat.

If you want, it is possible to order the prescription strength online from overseas pharmacies but it isn't cheap. It would be better to call the doc and get a new scrip. I have used Avon's fade cream. it is one of the lighter feeling ones and has a decent scent. Esoterica is also good. If you use the fade cream in combination with Retin A, you will get much faster results.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 9:12PM
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I have the same problem. I just went to the Dermatologist for a prescription. Hydroquinone 4%...and that is even working slow.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 8:58AM
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I got some liquid get in a small bottle from Sephora that you use twice a day (just a teeny bit) and it works on my "clown mouth". It did take a few months to work but at least it works. It's 2% hydroquinone. I wish there was a permanent fix but my own natural hormones decided to take it out on my skin too!

I posted a similar question a year or two ago and got the same advice. It does work.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 4:31AM
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The key is consistent twice daily use. All of the OTC fade creams contain the same active ingredient, 2% hydroquinone. I find that some are very greasy and some have a lighter feel. Some smell better!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 3:53PM
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Hi, I am new to this forum and was just reading back posts when I ran across this one. There is a product called Nadinola that has 3% hydroquinone. It's in WalMart and is pretty cheap, believe it or not. It sure beats the high prescription price for 1% more.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2004 at 11:28AM
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i work outside in FL and get sun spots (well patches actually) alot and have been using philosophy's help me (retin product)& a pigment of your imagination (2% hydroquinone). they worked almost overnight and if i could remember to keep up w/ the sunscreen i wouldn't have to keep using these products. ~ liz

Here is a link that might be useful: philosophy hyperpigmentation products

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 8:10PM
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I heard paulas choice gel worked well. I just bought a bar on ebay and will let you know if it works at all.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 3:26AM
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Hello, have you tried Hypercreme ExtraTone? This is a product from Switzerland and works extremely well for lightening the overall skin complexion and also for lightening age spots and freckles. My mom used it for about 1 month and her skin lightened about 2-3 shades which is a lot since she was already pretty fair skinned. You can find this product from but in the US, it is sold online from
Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 6:34PM
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Over 2% hydroquinone requires a prescription - there are no over-the-counter creams with over 2%. Be very careful to know what you are using - many Chinese and other foreign formulations contain mercury, which is poisonous. I would stick with name-brands from a reputable store.

The hydroquinone creams work but you must use them for about 2-3 months religiously, and protect your skin from the sun in the meantime, as it makes your skin more sensitive. You are not supposed to use them continuously. About 3 months at a time is suggested.

There are some rat tests out showing a hydroquinone-cancer connection. But the tests were not definitive and have not caused the FDA to pull hydroquinone, and it's been years now. I noticed Estee Lauder has pulled their whitening creams off the shelf for some reason. Shiseido is now using some secret formulation that costs an arm and a leg.

You'll see some alternative ingredients like licorice being used. I can't vouch for any of those. But hydroquinone is still the "gold standard" of skin discoloration faders.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 3:59PM
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Hyroquinone has not been proven to cause skin cancer or any of the ailments you mentioned in the legal amounts allowed in the US. If you can link to any medical studies that show otherwise, please do.

Mercury is not allowed to be used for this purpose in this country.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 4:52PM
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How do you apply these skin lightening creams? For example my upper arms near my shoulders are not affected by hyperpigmentation; but right above by elbow about half way up my arm has the spotted pigment. There is hyperpigmentation splotches at the very top of my arm near the shoulder as well. Do I just apply to those areas or all over?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 4:49PM
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I found a lady that have before and after pics from using the lemon whitening cream from world of entertainment her email is her skin looks amazing. she said she lightened up within 5 days and this cream is natural. Does not contain hydroquinone. So it is possible to lighten up with natural products. Its a lemon whitening cream. Im going to try it. Im all for new things and I want to go natural

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 11:40PM
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Try A Pigment of Your Imagination SPF 18 from Philosophy. As mentioned above, OTC lighteners take time and patience to work but I like this one because it has SPF, which is the source of the hyperpigmentation for most of us.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 4:25PM
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heres another before and after photo email her at

    Bookmark   May 4, 2007 at 4:58PM
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hi jmwb! i'm using one cream to get rid of all kinds of blemishes i can see on my face. it's called Metaderm. you can purchase it online ( it's effective on dark and age spots, hyperpigmentation, sun spots, and even dark underarms! (yeah i had dark underarsm.hee) anyway, you might want to check that out. great stuff!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 2:13AM
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I've been reading past threads in the forum since I am pretty new here and I stumbled across this one. I highly recommend that you try home whitening remedies first such as honey and lemon juice. They are effective in making skin fairer. Since they are natural, you can combine them with an all-natural whitening cream such as NeuCell skin lightener. Try to avoid otc products that contain hydroquinone because they can have adverse side effects if used inappropriately.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:30PM
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I've gone the natural remedy route before I tried other products...used both honey and lemon juice. The only product I can recommend is Whiterderm (mainly because it's the only thing I've tried so far). I know it's not a big name brand or a famous product, but it worked for me. My dark spots have become almost barely visible. No hydroquinone too, so there's nothing to worry about.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:14AM
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